Building back greener?
Christian perspectives on the future of our economy, money and work
7-8 October, 2022
Green Christian’s conference this October is inspired by our Joy in Enough project. It will offer thought-provoking talks on creating a sustainable economy with opportunities for bringing questions and concerns.
All are welcome to attend.
Travel bursaries for people under 30.
Joining us by Zoom on the evening of Friday 7th October, is environmentalist and writer, Paul Kingsnorth, founder of the Dark Mountain project. The event starts at 7pm, with Paul’s talk starting at 7.30pm.
This will be followed by an in-person event at the Priory Rooms (7 minutes walk from Birmingham New Street Station), Birmingham B4 6AF, from 10.15am to 4.30pm on Saturday 8th October.
Speakers on Saturday will be:
Grace Blakeley, economics and politics commentator
Professor Christopher Southgate, scientist and theologian
There will also be workshops and discussion, opportunities for informal get-togethers and networking, and taster sessions of Plenty!
The Conference will be encouraging participants to think about the economy of the future, likely developments, and Christian perspectives on these. Workshops include: Money Makes Change, Tax Justice, Consumption and Advertising, Rage Against the Machine, and Joy in Enough’s Plenty! programme. It will be a great opportunity for people to meet and talk to each other again.
Donations to help cover the cost of the in-person Saturday conference are set at three different levels; please choose the option that best fits your circumstances.
- £10 – Money’s tight at the moment
- £20 – I can pay for a ticket
- £30 – “We love you” ticket
Workshop 1: Plenty!
Green Christian’s Plenty! course invites you to imagine a society where everyone has enough to live a good life, where communities flourish, and the natural world heals and thrives. It takes you and your community through some of the tough questions around inequality, consumerism, social justice and the environment – all approached through conversation, stories and questions – and all leading into that important question of what you and your church can do to help create a fairer and greener world. Come and get a taste of what Plenty!’s like in this workshop, where we’ll do a sampler for one of the sessions.
Workshop 2: Rage against the Machine
Paul Kingsnorth’s Friday evening online talk will doubtless generate much food for thought. This session is intended as a follow-up, enabling participants to digest Paul’s input further through an opportunity to discuss some of the central themes which have emerged in Paul’s writings of late.
John Daniels will be exploring with this group such key ideas as: What exactly is the Machine? Is it possible to imagine Joy in Enough, or Plenty!, in a world shaped by what Progress wants? How do we avoid environmentalism getting distorted into a false gospel?
Workshop 3: Tax Justice
Tax justice is one of the most powerful tools at society’s disposal for eradicating inequality, and for enabling the most vulnerable countries to adapt and mitigate against the problems of climate change. But as a subject, it can sound dull, or overly complex – difficult to engage with, despite the emphasis our Lord put upon issues of economic justice. In this session, Church Action for Tax Justice’s Cat Jenkins will draw out some of the more accessible, and theologically-rooted, themes of tax and the environment – enabling participants to try their hand at writing a prayer or hymn verse which speaks to these very issues, and which can help others think about how to pray for them. It’s time to get creative!
Workshop 4: Money Makes Change: Pursuing justice with our finances
What role can we play as Christians in pursuing a greener, more just economy through our banking, pension and investment decisions? We’ll explore a range of tactics we can use, from impact investing to shareholder action. There are actions we can all take, regardless of our financial resources, as part of a wider movement calling for a fairer, more sustainable financial system. Let’s inspire and equip each other for action! With Rose Venner from the Ecumenical Council for Corporate Responsibility (ECCR).
Workshop 5: Consumption and Advertising
Is wealth a gift from God? Affluence enables us to choose less harmful consumption practices that are beyond the reach of poor households – organic food, longer lasting furniture and household appliances, avoiding intensively farmed goods, travelling by Eurostar rather than flying. Moreover, consumption provides jobs. Yet the Bible warns of the dangers of wealth. How do we choose appropriate levels and types of consumption in the face of seductive marketing techniques that tell us that we “deserve” products and increasingly prevalent electronic advertising billboards in our streets? How do we confront the forces that are driving excessive consumption? The workshop will be led by Dr Tim Cooper.
More workshops to follow soon
Paul Kingsnorth is an English writer who lives in the west of Ireland. He is a former deputy-editor of The Ecologist and a co-founder of the Dark Mountain Project. Paul’s nonfiction writing addresses themes like environmentalism, globalisation, and the challenges posed to humanity by civilisation-level trends. He is also a novelist and poet. In January 2021 he was baptised in the Romanian Orthodox Church at the Romanian Monastery in Shannonbridge, Ireland. Paul has a website and a new fortnightly essay series The Abbey of Misrule . He’s just done a great video on Conversion, Culture, and the Cross with Rowan Williams.
Grace Blakeley is an economics and politics commentator, columnist, journalist and author. She is a staff writer for Tribune and was previously the economics commentator of the New Statesman. She also contributes to Novara Media. Her most recent book is The Corona Crash: How the Pandemic Will Change Capitalism .
Christopher Southgate is a professor in the Theology and Religion Department at the University of Exeter. He is a theologian, a research biochemist and a poet. His books include Theology in a Suffering World – Glory and Longing and The Groaning of Creation: God, Evolution and the Problem of Evil, a seminal work on suffering in creation. Do visit Chris’s website.
Tim Cooper is Emeritus Professor of Sustainable Design and Consumption at Nottingham Trent University. He has an economics degree from the University of Bath, where he first studied environmental economics and came across critics of economic growth. He was co-founder of Green Christian in 1982 (initially known as the Christian Ecology Group and, later, Christian Ecology Link) and its first Chairman. Contributing Editor of Longer Lasting Products, he has published extensively on product lifetimes and initiated the biennial PLATE (Product Lifetimes and the Environment) conferences.
Rosie Venner manages the Money Makes Change programme for ECCR, an ecumenical Christian charity whose vision is of a world where money is used to shape a fairer, greener future. She’s also worked for the Student Christian Movement and Christian Aid, and worships at St Martin’s in Worcester.
Green Christian’s Joy in Enough Project started in 2014 to explore alternatives to the current economic system. It draws together ideas from economists, environmentalists and theologians. It considers links between the way we run our economies, our consumption of goods and services and the climate change and biodiversity crises.
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Comments on "Building back greener?"
The way of St Francis and St Chad is how to build back greener, isn’t it? And meditation.
Yes, we are working on trying to get some of the conference on Zoom as well.
Great idea! But I’m surprised that a green organisation is doing a conference that requires travel! Are all workshops and speakers available on Zoom?